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Britain's Gemma Gibbons wins silver in women's judo

Great Britain's Gemma Gibbons receives her silver medal. Photo: PA Wire

Britain's Gemma Gibbons secured a silver medal in the women's under-78kg judo after being defeated by America's Kayla Harrison.

She charged into the final after beating world champion Audrey Tcheumeo of France at the ExCeL. Cheered on by the roaring home crowd she has became the first woman from Great Britain to win a medal in women's judo for twelve years.

Her medal boosted the home nation's hail to four golds, six silver and four bronze by the end of the afternoon, taking Team GB to fifth place overall.

David Cameron and Vladimir Putin, who has a black belt in judo himself, watched the match after spending the morning talking politics in Downing Street.

Mr Cameron narrowly missed Gibbons semi-final victory against Audrey Tcheumeo as the meeting over ran.

Team GB's Gemma Gibbons won against Audrey Tcheumeo this morning. Credit: Reuters

Gibbons who spent six months out of the sport after needing surgery on her shoulder lit up the arena throughout her Olympic performances. Coached by Kate Howey, who was the last British judo fighter to win Olympic silver at the Sydney Games, Gibbons started well, but was caught by an early Yuko score.

Kate Howey comforts Gemma Gibbon after she looses to Kayla Harrison today. Credit: Reuters

22-year-old Kayla Harrison made history for the USA by becoming the first ever judo player to win an Olympic gold medal. Harrison scored two Yukos to win.

Harrison was a world champion in 2010 and a world bronze medalist last year. Harrison overcame years of sexual abuse by a former judo coach in her home town of Ohio. She says the sport became the outlet for the negative emotions built up over the years of abuse.

Gibbons was cheered on by a roaring, flag waving crowd. After her overtime win in the semifinals against 2011 world champion Audrey Tcheumeo of France she looked up and said "I love you mum". Her mother, Jeanette died of leukemia in 2004.

Gibbons left the arena to a standing ovation, and received a congratulatory handshake from Prime Minister David Cameron before heading up to the podium to receive her silver medal.

Gemma Gibbons with her silver medal and USA's Kayla Harrison with her gold medal. Credit: Press Association

Speaking after her podium event said the experience "did not feel quite real at the moment" but that she knew, deep within herself, she was capable of achieving "something special."

It has been difficult to get here, but it is not easy for any athlete. When you are training as hard as you can but not getting results in competitions, you do think, what do I have to do?

Deep within, though, I always knew I could do something special, and that is what drives you on.